The Norman Transcript

Religion

June 12, 2014

Is stealing ever justified in faith?

NORMAN — When, if ever, is stealing justified in your faith?

Stealing in all forms

is morally harmful

Arvind Khetia, Hindu engineer with Interfaith Council: Like all negative impulses of the mind, the habit of stealing results from greed, selfishness and discontent. Stealing has a corrosive effect on one’s moral character and consequently makes one’s spiritual aspirations ineffective.

Stealing takes many forms, from small thefts with limited karmic consequences, to “stealing” Earth’s natural resources to satisfy our unlimited desires producing far-reaching karmic consequences, such as climate change. Corporations not paying their workers a fair wage also is a form of stealing.

To restrain one’s unethical attitude and cultivate moral aspiration, sage Patanjali of ancient India in his ‘Yoga Sutras’ defines the moral disciplines necessary for fostering inner restraint as Yama, and the disciplines necessary for cultivating good habits as Niyama.

Yamas include nonviolence, truthfulness, non-stealing, control of physical desires and not receiving of gifts (a bribe). Niyamas include purity of body and mind, contentment, austerities, reflecting on sacred teachings and devotion for God. Patanjali asserts that without following these disciplines there cannot be true spiritual progress.

Also, the Upanishads (spiritual texts of Hinduism) teach us that, “Whatever exists in this ever-changing universe should be viewed as pervaded by the Divine. So enjoy everything, but without any desire to possess another’s wealth.”

When we recognize the significance of this teaching, we will see the importance of “non-stealing” and “contentment” and abstain from stealing in all its forms. Therefore, the morally harmful action of stealing, in all its forms, can never be justified.

Seek to solve the

reasons for theft

Mohamed Kohia, Muslim Rockhurst University professor: Stealing is forbidden in Islam, according to the Qur’an, Sunnah (the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad) and Ijma (scholarly consensus).

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